Sunday, January 8, 2017

Herbs and their Therapeutic Properties

Nature has a powerful arsenal which if used correctly can relieve a variety of health problems.

The beneficial properties of herbs have been known since antiquity and all the ancient cultures used herbs to treat various diseases. There is no better treatment - for all diseases known today – than the treatment provided by nature at all times. Herbs and methods of use: injectors and infusions. Even today, if herbs are used properly, they can provide relief to various diseases.

In any case though, the use of herbs cannot replace medication. What’s more, in certain cases they may cause side effects or interactions with other drugs. This is why for any condition and treatment we should always consult our doctor.

Herbs and methods of use: infusions or decoction

Τo prepare an infusion we use the leaves, stems and flowers of herbs whereas to prepare a decoction we use the roots, bark and seeds.

The decoction is a kind of concentrated beverage - tea - which is done by simmering the hard parts of herbs such as roots, bark, woody stems, fruits and seeds and the infusion is a beverage obtained through the maceration of the most sensitive parts the herb like leaves, flowers and stems.

Preparation of  a decoction:

- prepare our herbs from which we will use a teaspoon of dried or two teaspoons of fresh herb per cup of water and add them to our water in a kettle

- cover over and let our water to boil

– when water starts boiling we reduce the heat so as our water simmers covered

- let our herbs to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes ... and strain.

The infusion is the simplest way to use the processed, above ground parts of herbal plants and especially the leaves and flowers.

The medicinal and therapeutic value of many herbs is based on the volatile essential oils that are diffused into the air if the pan for preparing the infusion is not covered. We use a teapot or put a lid on the container or cup in which we prepare our infused and water that has just boiled.

We should always look at the recommended dosage and the quantities given for the various kinds of herbs eg herbs for constipation or diarrhea, as infusions have pharmacological activity and may have undesirable effects if not used with the correct dosage and quantities.

For one cup: 1 teaspoonful (2-3 g) of dried or 2 teaspoons (4-6 grams) fresh herb in a cup of boiled water.

For a container: 20 g of dried or 30 g of fresh herb to 500 ml boiling water.

Infusion in a container: Put the herb in a container and pour freshly boiled water, cover and leave for ten minutes for  the infusion to complete and then drain the infusion into a glass.

If we want we can add a spoonful of honey although it’s better to drink most herbs as they are with no additives.

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